The NRA's Description of a High Power Rifle Match
Courses of Fire
There are 4 strings of fire which are the basic building blocks of any NRA high
power rifle course of fire or tournament.
1. Slow Fire, standing - 10 rounds at 200 yards in 10 minutes.
2. Rapid Fire, sitting or kneeling - 10 rounds at 200 yards in 60 seconds.
3. Rapid Fire, 10 rounds prone - 300 yards in 70 seconds.
4. Slow Fire, 10 rounds prone - 500 or 600 yards in 10 minutes.
Every NRA High Power Rifle match for which classification records are kept is a
multiple or a combination of one or
more of these strings.The popular National Match Course, for instance, consists
of 10 rounds slow fire standing; 10
rounds rapid fire sitting or kneeling; 10 rounds rapid fire prone and 20 rounds
slow fire prone. Matches fired all at one
distance and in one position are known as "single-stage" matchesand are usually
20 shot matches (2 times one of
the basic strings).
"Slow Fire" does not require much explanation. The shooter takes his position on
the firing line, assumes the
prescribed position and is allowed one minute per shot to fire the string.
"Rapid Fire," on the other hand, is more elaborate. In rapid fire sitting or
kneeling, the shooter uses a preparation
period to establish sitting or kneeling position; then comes to a standing
position and, on command, loads either 2 or
5 rounds (depending on the firearm) into the rifle. When the targets appear or
the command to commence fire is
given, the shooter gets into the firing position, fires the rounds in the rifle,
reloads with 8 or 5 more for a total of 10
and finishes the string. The procedure for rapid fire prone differs only in the
firing position and the time spent.
Rifle: Rifles to be used in High Power Rifle competition must be equipped with
metallic sights (Some long range,
1000-yard matches allow the use of "any sights"), should be capable of holding
at least 5 rounds of ammunition and
should be adapted to rapid reloading. Tournament programs often group
competitions into two divisions, Service Rifle
and Match Rifle. The rifles currently defined as "Service Rifles" include the
M1, M14, M16 and their commercial
equivalents. Winchester and Remington have
made their Model 70 and Model 40X rifles in "match"
custom gunsmiths have made up match rifles on many military and
commercial actions. 1903 and 1903-A3
Enfields and pre-war Winchester Model 70 sporters in .30-06 are all equipped
with clip slots for
rapid reloading. The most suitable rear sights
are aperture or "peep" with reliable, repeatable 1/2 minute (or finer)
adjustments. Front sights should be of either the post or aperture type.
Sling: The shooting sling is helpful in steadying the positions and controlling
recoil. The sling may be used in any
position except standing.
Spotting Scope: A spotting scope or a substitute optical device is important for
scoring and observing the placement
of shot spotters on the
target. The beginning shooter will benefit from the use of about any telescope
which gives an
erect image. The most suitable spotting scopes,
however, have a magnification of from 20 to 25 power and an
objective lens at
least 50mm in diameter. Eyepieces angled at 45 to 90 degrees
are convenient for using the scope
without disturbing the shooting position.
Shooting Coat: The shooting coat is equipped with elbow, shoulder and sling pads
which contribute to the shooter's
comfort. Since there are
several styles of shooting coats of varying cost, the shooter is advised to try
types before making an investment.
Shooting Glove: The shooting glove's primary function is to protect the forward
hand from the pressure of the sling.
Any heavy glove will serve
the purpose until the shooter makes a final choice among several shooting gloves
Sight Blackener: The shooter using an exposed front sight such as the blade
found on the service rifle will require
some means of blackening the
sight. A carbide lamp will do this job or a commercial sight black sold in spray
can be used.
Scorebook: If the shooter is to learn from experience, they should record the
conditions and circumstances involved
in firing each shot. Sight
settings, sling adjustments, wind and light conditions and ammunition used all
have a place
in the scorebook. Actual shot value is the least
important data recorded.
Ammunition: Most competitors eventually turn to handloads. Careful handloading
will yield ammunition less
expensive and more accurate than
otherwise available. Both tracer and incendiary ammunition are prohibited by NRA
Rules and armor-piercing ammunition may be prohibited
by local range regulations.
Long Range Competition
NRA rules provide for slow fire prone competition at ranges beyond 600 yards.
The Palma Match is one such event. It
is conducted at
distances of 800, 900, and 1000 yards. Some of these matches permit the use of
High power rifle shooting at the full regulation distances requires a range with
firing lines at 200, 300 and 600 (or 500)
Every official NRA stage or course of fire normally conducted at 200, 300, or
500 yards can be run at 100 yards on
the NRA official reduced
targets. The SR-1 target simulates the 200 yard target; the SR-21 is the 100
of the 300 yard target and the MR-31 gives the
same appearance at 100 yards as the normal 600 yard target does at
Because of their small size, the reduced targets are well adapted to being hung
on stationary frames. Because of the
short distances involved, it
is practicable to walk down to the targets after each string and remove them for
elsewhere or to score them on the frames. The use of
stationary target frames eliminates the complications that
sometimes arise when
the number of shooters on the line is not equal to the number of
target operators in the pits.
Reduced 300 and 600 yards targets are also
available for firing at 200 yards. The NRA can provide a list of target
including reduced targets.
High Power Sporting Rifle
The High Power Sporting Rifle Rules were introduced in 1985. This variation is
fired with hunting type rifles which may
be equipped with telescopic sights. The
course is fired at a single distance - either 100 or 200 yards - and rapid fire
strings are only 4 shots to accommodate the typical hunting rifle.
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